Tim O’Brien’s girls volleyball notebook

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Approached by District 202 during the offseason, Erik Vogt couldn’t pass up the opportunity presented him.

A varsity assistant and sophomore head coach in the girls volleyball program at Plainfield North, Vogt was named girls varsity coach at Plainfield Central during the spring.

Vogt also coaches with the Sports Performance Volleyball Club. He inherits a team that finished 14-23 last season.

“Our expectation is to improve the program across the program,” Vogt said. “We want things going in the right direction, and we need everyone on board.”

The program is just two seasons removed from a deep run in the playoffs. In 2011, the Wildcats reached the sectional final round, so the potential certainly is there for a turnaround.

And with a young coach comes a very young team. Plainfield Central has just two seniors on the roster, with one junior, five sophomores and two freshmen. Vogt has done his best to keep his program together on all levels.

“It’s the different expectations that come with a different coach,” Vogt said.

“Our practices, we all practice together so the freshmen, the A or B team, know what we expect. The expectations are the same across the board.”

Junior Elizabeth Hyland already has two years of varsity experience.

Freshman Ashley Shook sees time as a setter and hitter for the Wildcats.

Lincoln-Way Central previews the future

Lincoln-Way Central coach Kathy Sulkowski has challenged her team this season.

At practice and in matches, the Knights have to “Finish Strong.”

Trailing Crystal Lake South 18-7 in the third set of Saturday’s Asics Preview championship, Central came back to win 25-23. Lincoln-Way Central qualifies for next season’s Asics Challenge.

“We kept plugging and chipping away with two or three points in a row, which made a huge difference in the comeback,” Sulkowski said. “I love the resilience and never-give-up mentality of this team.”

The Knights had a similar comeback win early in the season against Shepard, trailing 17-11 in the third set only to pull out a win.

“This is a special group. Their will to win is one of the strongest I have ever coached,” Sulkowski said.

Player of the Week

Maria Brown, of Lincoln-Way Central, is this week’s Herald-News Girls Volleyball Player of the Week.

In helping the Knights to the Asics Preview championship, Brown, a senior outside hitter, finished with 18 kills in the championship match vs. Crystal Lake South. Over six matches, all wins, Brown totaled 58 kills, 39 digs and nine blocks.

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